Sunday, March 21, 2010

Illegal Billboards Come Down - Some Without Even Being Asked

As the LA Times reported, CBS Outdoor put their money on following City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's advice to obey the law and remove their illegal supergraphics on the Iron Mountain storage building at 1025 Highland Ave., in Hollywood.
Before (above) and After (below)
At 11 stories high and almost a city block wide
these were the widest and tallest supergraphics in Los Angeles

Trutanich had sent CBS Outdoor a 'Cease and Desist' letter, however their attorney, Laura Brill did not immediately return a call from the LA Times seeking comment. Many, however, believe that CBS's decision to follow the law may be tied to the recent arrest and imprisonment of Kayvan Setareh, the Hollywood 'businessman' who apparently ignored the City Attorney's letters and emails, to remove illegal supergraphics, leading to the Dragongate saga.

The ties are more tangible than simply the prospect of having a CBS Outdoor executive spending a few days in jail. Many naysayers questioned Trutanich's motives in seeking the $1M bail that held Setareh in jail until he ordered the removal of the "How to train your Dragon" supergraphic funded by Paramount to promote the upcoming Dreamworks movie during the Oscars. 

Perhaps the most vitriolic naysayer was the left-wing wackjob political hack LA Times columnist Tim Rutten, who poh-pohed the notion that a supergraphic could fall and cause any harm.

As Trutanich is known to say "Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds an acorn" and here's the acorn; According to the LA Times (and NBC),  one of the Iron Mountain images recently broke free in a wind storm, split in two and fell to the ground. 

The proof of one of the dangers presented by illegal supergraphics comes from Robert Eicholz, a Hollywood resident who was interviewed by LA Times reporter David Zahniser  who related that Eicholz works in a nearby office building. “The wind got up under that thing and ripped it into pieces,” said Eicholz, who said the tattered sign was an advertisement for the Apple iPod. “It ripped and it went crashing down onto Highland Avenue.”  

Of course facts are the enemy of political hacks, and the ultimate irony for Rutten, whose left wing hit piece borderlines outright untruth, is that Rutten's deception was outed by David Zahniser; the LA Times journalist who interviewed Eicholz.

So while the rest of the illegal adverting industry relished in Rutten's hit piece, some of the wiser advertisers started to realize that the days of paying off politicians like Jan Perry to make exceptions for them, were over. That Trutanich was one of the few elected officials in Los Angeles who not only stays true to campaign promises, but follows the law. And so, perhaps wisely, they decided to follow the law without even getting a 'Cease and Desist' letter, let alone 3 squares and a bunk at County Jail.

Word around the City is that almost as stealthily as they went up, illegal supergraphics are coming down. 

The west facing wall of 7461 Beverly Blvd.
December 28, 2008 (above) and March 19, 2010 (below)

The west wall of 7461 Beverly Blvd., has been devoid of supergraphics since before Dragongate, and remains so to date. The anti-illegal billboard activist website Ban Billboard Blight has noted numerous other supergraphics disappearing as a result of Trutanich's enforcement and Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, had sharp criticism of left-wing wackjob political hack Tim Rutten's characterization of Trutanich as a bully; "By common definition, a bully is someone who picks on someone who is weaker than themselves," said Hathaway. The illegal billboard industry makes millions of dollars weekly from their illegal activities, they are hardly weaker than the budget strapped City Attorney. 

Perhaps Tim Rutten won't be swayed by the facts about the dangers of supergraphics, nor the vast profits accumulated by the very worst offenders. The depths of Rutten's political bias probably makes it impossible for him to read LA Weekly journalist Christine Pelisek's insightful report into the amount of money generated by supergraphic multimillionaire Barry Rush. Peilsek headlines her report "The Mad Men of Los Angeles," it's an excellent read unless you like to stick your head in the sand like Tim Rutten.   

Chalk up one victory for Trutanich in getting illegal supergraphics under control in our city, another to David Zahniser at the LA Times for finding a witness to debunk the naysayers, and one for Christine Pelisek at LA Weekly for revealing the money men who can buy political hacks.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that you name Jan Perry as one of the politicians that can be bought by billboard money. I thought she was totally owned by AEG? What proof do you have that her vote is available to the highest bidder?

Anonymous said...

I feel abandoned by my councilmen, Weiss then Koretz, who's staff are always very polite when I've complained about these monstrosities that cover my windows, but say they can 'do nothing' about them. Now I know why - it's all about the money they get from these criminals. Isn't that a crime Mr. City Attorney?

Red Spot in CD 14 said...

Nice to see an public official who follows through on his pledges.